PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2015, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (7): 809-817.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2015.07.003

• Socio-cultural Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Progress in geographic studies on "home" and implications for China

Dan FENG1, Peng LI2,*(), Hong ZHU1   

  1. 1. Tourism Management School & Cultural Industry and Cultural Geography Research Center, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2014-10-01 Revised:2015-03-01 Online:2015-07-10 Published:2015-07-10
  • Contact: Peng LI


Geography of home is becoming an important research field in the western academic world. Both the quantity and the citation rate of the publications on this topic are growing significantly, in cultural geography study in particular. This article reviews the diverse literature on the geography of home and calls for domestic study in China in the context of great social and cultural transitions. First, the conceptualization of home was interpreted by tracing back in the literature. Home was treated as "heaven" in early research of the 1970s inspired by the humanistic trend at the time, while was criticized for its ignorance of the negative feelings and experiences of the subordinate groups. At present, this concept is understood increasingly as political and embedded with critical interpretations. The review found that the geography of home is closely related to identity, including gender, sexuality, class, and ethnicity. These identities shape and are shaped by home. Finally the article reviews studies on two key phenomena examined from the perspective of home: transnational migration and homelessness. These studies focus on the impacts of the wider economic and social contexts as well as related policies. More importantly, growing attention has been paid to the home making practice and the meanings of home experience of the migrants and the homeless people. Despite of the abundant research on the geography of home, such study in China is relatively rare although the idea of home occupies a key position in traditional cultures of China. Especially during the recent development of globalization and social transformation, the theory of home may be helpful to explain and interpret new topics that have emerged in China such as the growth of forced migration, flow of labor force, and empty nester family. The existing body of literature on the geography of home provides insightful ideas for related studies in China. However, empirical studies should be conducted in the context of China, which may enrich or challenge the theory of home.

Key words: home, place, identity, cultural geography, research progress